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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    February 2, 2013
    4:00 - 5:00am PST  

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will of the voters or doing what they said they would do when they do not do it they do not care. so as republicans in other states were bailing on the plan to rig the electoral college in blue states, michigan's house speaker was still talking it up. michigan's republican governor saying, hey, this seems like a fair time to consider it. in the end, it turns out even michigan's honey badger repun i had -- republicans have their limit. just whether it looked liked nobody else could stomach it, michigan republicans decided they could not stomach it either, at least not yet. michigan's republican leader in the senate doesn't want to go through with it. michigan's governor rick snyder now says he's very skeptical of the yad that this just isn't the right time. we started with six possible states where republicans helped to tilt the playing field. they all said no, they are not
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going to do it. but still one holdout. not michigan. i thought the holdout would be michigan. it turns out the holdout is pennsylvania. the republican senate majority leader will introduce a new bill in february, even if it makes some folks in his party a little queasy. i have been thinking that michigan was home to the do not give a bleep honey badgers of the republican party in 2013. but maybe it's pennsylvania. maybe it is actually tom corbett eating the cobra. "weekends with alex wit witt st now. still hostage. a 5-year-old boy still held by a gunman. what will officials do next to free that boy? a live report ahead. does a dramatic rise in the stock market signal a full economic recovery? numbers for you. in politics, this the last we'll hear from scott brown in massachusetts. why he's a no-go for now to fill
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john kerry's senate seat. gnarls faces a monumental task in the next few weeks. why the super bowl isn't all that officials have to worry about. good morning. it is groundhog day. let's get to what's happening out there right now. president obama shifting his focus back to the economy. a day after the dow closed above the 14,000 mark for the first time since before the financial crisis. >> we are poised to grow in 2013. and the real signs of progress. home prices are starting to climb again. car sales are at a five-year high. manufacturing is roaring back. our businesses created 2.2 million jobs last year. and we just learned that our economy created more jobs over the last few months than economists originally thought. >> now, former senator scott brown says he will not run on a special senate election in massachusetts. it's a setback. republicans who hope to win the seat vacated by secretary of
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state john kerry. brown lost hre-election bid to elizabeth warren in november. for more on the response to the milestone week to the dow, let's go to kristen welker at the white house for us. good saturday morning to you. what is the take on the latest economic news, after the rocky start with the negative gdp number? >> good morning, alex. a real mixed bag this week. the white house responding as they typically do, when we get one of these jobs reports or gdp reports, saying, look, these are signs that the economy is recovering, but that there is still a lot of work left to be done. particularly on the jobs report, to take that part, alex. the white house pointing that the jobs numbers were revised last year and at the ends the e month to show higher hiring. the fact nah manufacturing,
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construction, had a strong showing in the jobs report, but, of course, the negative side of that, the unemployment rate did tick up to 7.9%. that is indication there is more work to be done on the economy. republicans pointing to that number and the gdp report which showed the economy basically shrunk to say that the obama economy is not working. you look at the gdp number, what is interesting, part of the reason why it contracted, there were cuts to defense spending. the obama administration saying this is an indication that spending cuts, what republicans calling for, don't necessarily work. the thing that is sort of looming over this mixed bag, this economy picture that we got this week, are, of course, these fiscal fights coming up on the horizon. republicans and democrats will have to deal with that. first up, the sequester which could potentially work in deeper spending cuts to defense spending, nondiscretionary spending. that's something that the white
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house, that congress will really have to deal with, and that's sort of first up on the list of fiscal fights in a series of them, alex, on the horizon. >> kristen welker, thank you for that. we'll see you in the best of office politics in a half an hour. later on, new campaign for immigration reform. a new report suggests it may not be much of a help for the republican party which lost the hispanic vote in historic numbers in november. the story in 30 minutes or so. also new this morning, new details about the man allegedly behind the deadly terror attack in turkey. suicide bomber reportedly identified as a 30-year-old excon and is likely linked to an outlawed anti-american group. nbc chief foreign correspond richard engel live in ankara. any indication that this group could attack again? >> yes there, are certain
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indications it could attack again. most likely in turkey. a group that believes the turkish government under control of the american administration, that the u.s. is an imperial power. it opposes nato. a bit of a throwback group, a far-left marxist group. has some ties in europe and it has consistently attacked turkish authorities and sometimes business interests as well. and this time the u.s. embassy. according to tush irk authorities who have identified the bomber from remains, he was closer to 40 years old and had actually spent four years in a turkish prison for militant activity. but he was released for medical reasons. chaos of police and ambulances in one of ankara's most fortified districts, embassy row.
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on one stretcher, a well-known turkish journalist. she had come to have tea with the ambassador. she was at a visitor's gate in a security screening room when a suicide bomber came in, and reached for his waist. a guard yelled bomb and then it exploded. turkish media identified the bomber who killed himself and a turkish guard. >> right now, we're all dealing with our sadness at the loss of our fellow member of our embassy, we salute his bravery. >> reporter: the turkish government says the bomber was part of a radical leftist group that accuses turkey of being a puppet of american imperialism. turkey is part of nato, which recently deployed nato missiles here. just last september, a police station was bombed in istanbul. no matter who is responsible, u.s. officials, perhaps gun shy after benghazi, were quick to
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call it terrorism. >> this is characterized as a terrorist attack. >> a suicide bombing at the gates of an embassy is by definition a terrorist act. >> reporter: turkey is considered one of the safest countries in the middle east. explosion -- >> hmm. guys, clearly a little trouble with richard's live shot. something messing with the satellite signal. let's go to weekend weather. a very chilly new york city. the cold will be absolutely brutal in other places. meteorologist dylan dryer here with the national forecast. >> alex, we're looking at cold, cold temperatures working back to the upper midwest. windchills well below zero. actual air temperatures barely
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above zero. 1 degrees in minneapolis. 20s in the northeast. closer look at the wind cheel shows it feels like we are 10 to 20 below zero up across the dakotas and minnesota as well. and we have a couple of quick moving systems that will race through the great lakes region through the montana area, these little alberta clippers and a closer look at some of the snowfall that we'll see across ohio tow as these storms race to the south of it, it looks like we'll pick up two to four inches in ohio, across indiana and also down perhaps even into northeastern kentucky and virginia later today. fizzles out a little bit by the time it makes its way to the northeast. there is the chance we could see light snow showers on sunday. it's about the brutal cold up across minneapolis and chicago too. down across new orleans as everyone gets ready for the game on sunday. we'll be in the upper 60s today, mid 60s on sunday, and by game time, a little before 6:30
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sunday night, we should see partly cloudy skies and temperatures dropping back to the 50s. alex. >> thank you for that forecast, dylan dreyer. a day of celebration and service, just one day before super bowl kickoff. dozens of exclusive "a" list concerts and parties planned for tonight. volunteers will join the nfl for a day of service today. they will make a walk through of the venue this morning, the teams. janet shamlian live where the action is. >> new orleans is ready. the game kicks off tomorrow night, but parties have again going on for days. if you are lucky enough, the offerings tonight include justin estima timber lake, jay-z. those lucky enough to get a ticket for the big game, 73,000
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or so, and those regular folks who have come for the celebration. new orleans has always known how to throw a party. but it's never been more ready than on this weekend. >> good hospitality, good food. it's awesome. >> reporter: prime for its closeup and polished for the sparkle on the championship rings. >> a coming out for new orleans. we're sending the message we can recover from anything. >> reporter: this is the tenth super bowl in the big easy. the first since katrina more than seven years ago, when the super dome was the site of so much suffering. it stands today a monument to resilience. >> a great story of the recovery. with a lot of help from the whole nation. >> reporter: football great archie manning, also called the first citizen of the city. >> we are proud that people stuck it out. >> reporter: while there are still lingering stars, this weekend is a milestone. hotel rooms are full and the
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economic boost could top $430 million. mardi gras will add to the total. >> all of the money will help the local people who have really suffered for, you know, what has it been, eight years? >> reporter: as the kickoff yea nears, brother coaches john and jim harbaugh fielded questions. >> no better coach in the national football league than this guy right here. >> no matter which team you are rooting for. there is little doubt everyone is cheering for new orleans. could anyone make this super bowl this weekend better? >> if the saints were in it. >> if the saints were in it, that would be the only thing. >> reporter: a lot of events over the next couple of days are private, invitation only, or very pricey, but looking at the rings and football, that's the nfl experience and it's open to everyone. i spent a little time there yesterday. u.s. a lot of fun. a lot of kids there having a
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great time. adults playing like kids as well. back to you. >> new orleans is the place to do it. >> reporter: is it me, janet. i say go, do all the fun stuff, and then park yourself in front of a big screen tv for the game. >> reporter: flat panel. i think so too. >> thank you so much. the intense exchanges at the chuck hagel confirmation hearing. how much had to do with politics and how much was actual policy? [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation.
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president obama is focusing on the economy this morning, with the dow closing above 14,000 friday. highest since 2007, and the u.s.
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adding 157,000 jobs in january. but despite those gains, unemployment inched up to 7.9%. >> 2013 can be a year of solid growth, more highing, and more jobs. everyone in washington needs to focus not on politics, but what's right for the country, what's right for you and your families. >> joining me right now, white house correspondent for the hill, amie parnes and steve. >> good morning. >> the growth in the u.s. economy turned negative for the first time. how is the president interpreting the latest economic numbers? >> the white house is basically saying that this report shows that the economy is still healing, something they have said. but they used the record to say, you know, they carbed that spending cuts -- that the greater spending cuts could --
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could hurt the economy. that's where they are right now. we need to replace sequester, strike the right balance between spending and revenue and meanwhile republicans are kind of pointing the finger at them, saying you threw away the jobs council, where are the jobs? more finger pointing on both sides. >> let's switch gears and talk about former senator chuck hagel's confirmation hearing for second of defense. there were some pretty tense moments, let's take a listen. >> were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy plunder in th ee vietnam. correct or incorrect. the question is were you right or wrong? i would like an answer if you were right or wrong, and then you are free to elaborate? >> well, i'm not going to give
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you a -- a yes or no answer. >> name one person in your opinion who is intimidated by the israeli lobby in the united states senate? >> well, first -- >> name one. >> i don't know. >> well, why would you say it? >> i didn't have in mind a specific person. >> hmm. so, steve, how much was this politics and how much was this genuine, you know, policy concern? >> well, i think it was politics and policy and third, and i think it was personal. john mccain was the author of the surge of troops to iraq at the end of the administration, pushed it hard, took a lot of heat, including from the right. he takes it personal when chuck hagel calls it the bigst debacle since vietnam. and senator hagel dodging the question on whether he agreed
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with the same statement. hag mccain was getting testy and hagel was dodging. it was one of the key military decisions in the past ten years, and if senator hagel is the top military adviser to the president, they want to explore his thinking on that. and politics, trying to portray senator hagel as anti israel plays well to some interest groups, and that's much more politics. >> to pull from a football term given the weekend, it seems like he was fumbling around. was he not as well prepared as he ought to have been? >> no doubt, senators walked out of the hearing shaking their head, from both sides, democrats and republicans were very surprised how poorly prepared senator hagel appeared to be. for expected -- like senator mccain's questions about the surge. that's just a fundamental question you knew was coming and he seemed not to have an explanation for his own
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position. it -- a lot of people shaking their heads about it. >> does he get confirmed? >> he gets confirmed. you heard jay carney say that yesterday. the white house is counting on more than 50 votes. so far only one republican for him, but i think he gets through anyway, despite all of this. >> on monday, the president heads to minneapolis to push his gun control agenda. even with the president in campaign mode on this, what is the most we can expect to pass? >> i think the consensus right now is around universal background checks. i think you will see the president push for assault weapons ban. i don't think that will happen. but i think that there is -- people are starting to coe less around this universal background check, and so -- and republicans are backing it. you're hearing the nra kind of push back on it right there, but i think that's the way forward right now.
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>> steve, what about the attack? we were talking to rich engel about the attack on the u.s. many bass embassy in turkey. is this the new target for terrori terrorists? >> the response of the administration is to talk about embassies. new embassies are built like fortresses. older embassies are much more vulnerable and a lot of money has to be spent to fortify them. they are working on it the white house and state department point out correctly that the republicans in congressory the last two years have cut about 4$450 million out of the reques to fortify these embassies, right now, the u.s. is only able to go in and fix up and fortify and make more secure about 3 out of 10 embassies a year that they would like to do. now there may be a little more
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agreement in congress that they ought to fully finance the request no fix the embassies. >> thank you, guys. >> thanks, alex. big three money headlines, how long will the stock surge last on wall street. first, we'll tell you if the groundhog sees his shadow. a live picture right here. stay with us on "weekends with alex witt." straight from the microwave. like oven-roasted chicken in a creamy alfredo sauce. marie callender's new comfort bakes. it's time to savor. your financial advisor should focus on your long-term goals, not their short-term agenda. [ woman ] if you have the nerve to believe that cookie cutters should be for cookies, not your investment strategy. if you believe in the sheer brilliance of a simple explanation. [ male announcer ] join the nearly 7 million investors who think like you do: face time and think time make a difference. join us.
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♪ has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy. oh, it's groundhog day. this is punxsutawney, pennsylvania. did he see his shadow or not? let's listen. >> are we ready? >> yes, we're ready. >> if he sees his shadow, six more weeks. no more shadow. spring is here. let's go. here ye, here ye, here ye. on february, 2013, the 127th
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annual punxsutawney groundhog club at gobblers knob. seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators, weather without peer was awakened from his burrow at 7:28 with a tap of the president's cane. phil was lifted from his burrow and greeted by tens of thousands of faithful. phil was gently placed out, and we awaited six more weeks of winter or an early spring.
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phil with his keen weather eye gave a quiz call search to the western pennsylvania skies. phil and president dealey conversed in groundhog ease, and phil directed him to the chosen prognostication scroll. the president tapped the chosen scroll and directed phil's prediction to be proclaimed. my new knob entrance is a site to behold, like my faithful followers strong and bold. so ye, faithful, there is no shadow to see. an early spring for you and me! >> okay, once we were in that, folks, we will to stay with the whole thing. first time viewing to see punxsutawney phil and his shadow to see if the prognosticating creature, you have done it once, probably don't need to do it again. there you have it.
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okay. let's go to the big three money headlines, stock surge, overdrive and superspenders, joining me is morgan brennan. let's talk about stocks surged yesterday. how much did they surge? will it continue? >> hopefully. analysts expect we'll see history repeat itself. some double-digit percentage increases this year. month of january, a very strong start. the dow up 6% and that is the best monthly gain that we've seen since 1994. s & p 500 up 5%, best monthly gain since 1997. nasdaq 4%. fingers crossed, may not have a long winter. hopefully a good stock market too. >> what about car sales? >> this goes back to the stock market. people are feeling pretty bullish about buying new vehicles, this month we saw in january i should say, 14% increase in vehicle sales, about a million cars were sold. i think the really interesting story here is actually we're
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seeing a big increase in pickup truck demand, very closely tied to construction. as we see more homes get beuilt we'll see more puickup trucks sold. >> what about the super bowl? will it bring in big money? >> about $12 million. national retail federation expects onnan sunday alone, consumers spend $13 million. it breaks down to furniture to tv sales. expectations are 7.5 million people will buy new tvs. >> chicken wings? price gone up? >> this goes back to the drought we saw last year, we saw less chickens raised and we're seeing less chicken wings available. don't run out and, you know, stock up on chicken wings necessarily. but prices will be higher.
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1.2 billion chicken wings consumed this weekend. >> thank you so much, morgan brennan. >> thank you. for those of you who joined us before morgan, we saw punxsutawney phil make his prediction of an early spring. we'll be right back. you name it...i've hooked it. but there's one... one that's always eluded me. thought i had it in the blizzard of '93. ha! never even came close. sometimes, i actually think it's mocking me. [ engine revs ] what?! quattro!!!!! ♪ [ sneezes ] [ sniffles ] [ female announcer ] for everything your face has to face. face it with puffs facial tissues. puffs has air-fluffed pillows for 40% more cushiony thickness. face every day with puffs softness. face every day
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hi victor! mom? i know you got to go in a minute but this is a real quick meal, that's perfect for two! campbell's chunky beef with country vegetables, poured over rice! [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. it fills you up right. welcome back. 32 minutes past the hour. we are learning more about the kidnapper in alabama. this is the man holding a 5-year-old boy in an underground bunker. he has deep mistrust of the government. let's go to midland city, alabama. gabe gutierrez is standing by. what about negotiations? did they continue overnight? did they result with anything? >> reporter: good morning, alex. police aren't leasing much information on how o they are talking with the suspect. only they are talking with him
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through a ventilation pipe. this stand offhoff dragged on f hours. some concern over the drop in temperatures, how it's affecting the child overnight. the child is physically unharmed. police released a picture of the suspect. 65-year-old jimmy lee dykes. nbcfirmed in the navy in the '60s. he earned the a vet nam service medal. the school bus was towed away, that had been at the crime scene tuesday afternoon. dykes boarded that school bus and demanded a few children. when the bus driver refused, dykes shot and killed away and made away with a 5-year-old boy named ethan, believed to have asperger's syndrome. they have been holed up in this bunker now for several days now. police are communicating with
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him through a ventilation pipe. local residents are praying for a peaceful resolution. joining me now with more, former fbi profiler and hostage negotiator clint van zandt. welcome to you, my friend. what a situation. going on five days now, but i know have you said the extended time might help negotiators. how does that work? >> alex, there is an old hostage negotiation axiom. time decreases stress and anxiety. that's what we want to do, bring down the stress and anxiety level of jimmy lee dykes, who is in there. we want him to strongly identify with ethan, the little boy in there, and we want to -- as a negotiator, i want to extend the hand of safety and build this psychological umbilical cord between myself and jimmy lee dykes and extend to him, not only a chance to come out of there, which we all hope and
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pray he'll do, but secondly come out and share what drove him to do this in the first place. we've only heard one side. neighbors rant and rage and tell us he's a terrible person. we know he's watching television from inside the bunker. my message would be come out, tell us your side of the story. we've only heard 50% of it. we want to hear the rest, and we can only hear it from you. >> a point to be made there. in terms of police and their ability to negotiate or communicate with him, how is this working? there is a pipe. is it some kind of audio thing? how challenging is to for officers on scene. >> we don't know exactly what is done. it could be have you a police negotiator, fbi agent, talking down the pipe and jimmy lee, ethan talking up the pipe. if i were on scene, i would try to get jimmy lee to allow me to
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put a microphone, telephone device, put it down the pipe, gas down to him, so we could have a two-way conversation. however they are doing it, as long as they are talking, nobody is being hurt. it's a terrible situation for that little boy to be down there. but, again, alex, if he hasn't been hurt, we don't want to see law enforcement do something that would precipitate a violent situation where the little boy, an fbi agent or police officer or even jimmy lee would get hurt. we want a positive solution to this, and jimmy lee is the one that can make that happen. >> a couple of details. 65 years old, navy veteran, he is a loner and he holds some strong anti government leanings. a wednesday court hearing for a prior misdemeanor menacing charge. he missed that. as a former profiler, clint, what does this is a to the suspect and what he's thinking, his state of mind right now? >> this is someone building up
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to this situation. some have referred to him as a survivalist or seen the television shows that talk about the preppers. whatever his case, he prepared, either for a weather disaster or a personal disaster on his property, by building this bunker and doing other things, so his worst-case scenario, something he thought would happen happened. he is confronted by the government, by law enforcement. and everybody out there would say he brought this on himself. at this point, not what we're concerned with. we're concerned with what will bring him out of there safely and psychologically we'll do what we can to help him from that point on. >> okay. clint van zandt, thank you so much. appreciate your time. >> our coverage will continue on n nbcnews.com. the bus driver, charles poland jr. lost his life protecting those schoolchildren. new word on chuck hagel's
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confirmation procks. in a new interview with bloomberg, a white house spokesperson says there was no question. this follows a week of intense grilling during hagel's confirmation hearing. in this week's "office politics," best of in the series. you wi i begin by asking chris matthews to explain what he calls the two parts of politics. >> two parts of politics that i find great. one is the predictable part of it. and that's what i write rules about. there seems to be -- politicians get in trouble for the same things. forgetting the people at home. getting too washington. getting too high headed. and then they get in trouble. the left and right fights are predictable. incumbency, a tricky thing, but
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then there is the phenomenal. black president. because this one guy could do it. i don't think any other people could have done it, so we in the political commentarydidn't think up barack obama. i remember saying you just saw your first black president right there. as long as english language is spoken in the corner of the globe, people will be writing about barack obama because of the historic achievement in a country built on slavery, riveren with racism. for a man named barack hussein obama to become president at 46 at the time, remarkable, remarkable achievement. it was just a thrill to literally watch history unfold and be a part of that. the biggest challenge was it was exhausting, and there was a physical toll, which i wasn't
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prepared for. >> what was it like then on election day? >> election day was one of the most exciting and challenging days of my life. one of the biggest challenges, when we do these special reports, you stand up and here is all the correspondents from the networks, standing side by side by side, all speaking at the same time when they give you the 2:00 warning before the president comes out. there is me, major garrett, john carl. standing side by side, the president is about to walk through that door and you're all trying to communicate literally three feet away from each other when are you blasting your broadcast voice out. >> you hear what they are saying, the voices in your head as well. >> it's terrible. i think it is -- having reported in some awful places, this is the hardest thing i have done, because you know that behind that door the president and his staff are listening to what you are saying, they are surely
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watching you, because they have asked me about things i have said shortly therefore, after, walks through the door. the biggest challenge in what we do, to keep your head about you when you are doing that. a million breaking news developments throughout the day when are you covering the white house. when you think about it everything relates back to the white house. >> what about a favorite moment? did you have one from inauguration day. >> watching the first family. i loved it. i watched maybe an hour of watching them in the reviewing stand and i kept thinking, my god, these are attractive, better off obviously elite in a sense people, and yet like any family at a wedding, a funeral, any kind of formal event, just sort of antsy and moving around a lot and the girls are cute. >> they are cute. today at noon, more best of "office politics" and most memorable pictures from the worlds of politics, war, and
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history that stand out most in the minds of our office politic guests. a new report on why immigration reform may not help voters, next.
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okay, we're back. my next guest writes that immigration reform is not a kaur-all for the republican party. joining me now is aaron blake. we have hookup. that's great. aaron, first of all, is there going to be another failed attempt at immigration reform? overall? >> well, it's quite possible i will say this time unlike other times, we have con serbive talk show hosts on board, republican rank and file. one of the most interesting things, congressman steve king from iowa, a very, you know -- a very conservative immigration voice in the republican party said he liked a lot of the things in the senate bill. i think the odds of this getting done are probably better than they were in 2006/2007, when they tried this the last time. >> why is this not a cure all? >> a necessary, but not
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sufficient thing for them. a threshold issue for latino community. they need to do it, but at the same time, on issues like health care, on the economy, on education even, latinos are more and more in line with the democratic party today. so if immigration reform gets done, and as it looks right now, it's mostly a democratic thing as opposed to republican thing, it will be hard for republicans to just pull away votes, all at once. >> you know, i want to take a look at numbers relative to a pew poll when it talks about all of the top issues. for hispanic registered voters. look where immigration ranks. number five at 34%. so is the focus on immigration, just a complete oversimplifications on really diverse group of people? >> i think there is a little bit of that going on. i think at the same time there is a recognition this is the most pressing issue with regards to the latino community, we have 11 million, 14 million, whatever
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the number is. number of illegal immigrants in this country. something they have been trying to deal with for a number of years. very important to a lot of voters. at the same time, it's not the most important issue to these people. the people voting are already citizens. >> is it cynical to think republicans are only supporting this because they want the panic vote or otherwise? >> it's never. >> in which they actually lost more hispanic voters than last time. >> the poll showed the two top
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issues, education and jobs, the economy, do hispanic voters side more with republican or democrat platforms? >> i think that the economy is the biggest hurdle for republicans to get over with regard to the hispanic community. if you look at how -- obviously in the last election, a big debate about the role of government. government can do great things for this country. we want the private sector, the government to be smaller, we want a smaller deficit. hispanics are very much on the side of more government involvement. they want government services, they think that the government can do a lot to create jobs. they are very much in line with the democratic party and might be more pro government than the democratic party. if the republican party wants to woo voters, they need to adjust their message, not just on immigration, but also the economy and the basic principles about what the government can do. >> okay. aaron blake, thank you so much. appreciate that. >> thank you.
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president obama preparing to move out of the white house oval office, work under way on a second oval office in the eisenhower executive office next door. the president will begin working there in august and make way for a two-year renovation of the white house west wing. it's official. john kerry sworn in as secretary of state. duvall patrick has tapped his former top aide, william mo cohen to replace kerry until the june special election. scott brown took his name out of running yesterday. joining me now is frank phillips, who has been covering this story. really quickly before we get to mr. kowan the disappointment >> about not getting the nod? >> i think so. vicky kennedy certainly would have loved to have had that job? barney frank made it very public that he wanted it.
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that killed his chance, frankly, with governor patrick although i didn't think he had much of a chance. patrick, the governor, wanted to make a clear point that he wanted a minority or a woman. i think he'd been focused on moe cowan, who's not known anywhere but with the governor and the state house and the legal community, he wanted to make a statement of an african american there. it was kind of expected. i think we weren't terribly surprised by that. >> that's because you're an insider. a lot of people don't know who he is. i'm reading stats. he's 43 years old. he's a north carolina native. who is he in terms of his relationship with duval patrick, and what might he be expected to do while in the senate this brief time, about five months or so? >> he was known in the legal community and some of the big law firms highly respected fellow. governor brought him in, had known him in when they were both
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lawyers. the governor is a little older, and among african american lawyers, he was nurturing mo cowan along in his career, and this was just another step that he wanted to give mo a good boost here. mo certainly knows state issues. he's not been on the front lines articulating debates or going out and giving speeches. he's going to be a very quiet place holder. it's not going to be barney frank, who would have been quite a dynamic senator for the six months that he would be there. >> when you say a place holder, is it for certain that mr. cowan has no desire to run for office at any point going forward. i mean, take this and make it as the next step? >> he made that very clear, and the governor has made it very clear, whoever he was going to appoint would not be a candidate. he did not want that to occur. >> so what do you expect from his style and how you think he
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may interact with the rest of the senate? how do you predict that to go? >> he'll be fine. he's a very bright guy. he knows politics. he's been in the back room, though. he's never been out there in the front. he's not going to get up and make tremendous debates in the senate. he's not going to be making waves. he'll be an interesting character but very quiet, i think, and very -- he'll get the job done, there's no question about that. >> for the five months that he's there, okay. frank phillips, thank you so much for your time. that is a wrap of this hour of "weekends with alex witt." be sure to join me for a two-hour edition this afternoon. [ record scratch ] what?! it's not bad for you. it just tastes that way. [ female announcer ] honey nut cheerios cereal -- heart-healthy, whole grain oats. you can't go wrong loving it. heart-healthy, whole grain oats. to the best vacation sp(all) the gulf! it doesn't matter which of our great states folks visit.
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